Phagocytosis is a key mechanism of innate immunity, and promotion of phagosome maturation may represent a therapeutic target to enhance antibacterial host response. Phagosome maturation is favored by the timely and coordinated intervention of lipids and may be altered in infections. Here we used apoptotic body-like liposomes (ABL) to selectively deliver bioactive lipids to innate cells, and then tested their function in models of pathogen-inhibited and host-impaired phagosome maturation. Stimulation of macrophages with ABLs carrying phosphatidic acid (PA), phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P) or PI5P increased intracellular killing of BCG, by inducing phagosome acidification and ROS generation. Moreover, ABLs carrying PA or PI5P enhanced ROS-mediated intracellular killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, in macrophages expressing a pharmacologically-inhibited or a naturally-mutated cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. Finally, we show that bronchoalveolar lavage cells from patients with drug-resistant pulmonary infections increased significantly their capacity to kill in vivo acquired bacterial pathogens when ex vivo stimulated with PA-or PI5P-loaded ABLs. Altogether, these results provide the proof of concept of the efficacy of bioactive lipids delivered by ABL to enhance phagosome maturation dependent antimicrobial response, as an additional host-directed strategy aimed at the control of chronic, recurrent or drug-resistant infections.
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